White House vows further action on abortion following Idaho, Texas rulings

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
Greg Nash
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addresses reporters during the daily briefing at the White House on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.

The White House on Thursday hailed a ruling by a federal judge in Idaho late Wednesday that temporarily halted the state’s abortion ban from taking effect, while vowing further action to safeguard access to abortions in emergency situations.

“Yesterday, a federal Idaho district court determined that women in Idaho will continue to receive life-saving and health-preserving emergency care — including abortion care,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “This ruling will prevent serious harm to women in Idaho.”  

The ruling represented a significant win for the Biden administration after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit over Idaho’s abortion ban earlier this month in its first legal challenge to a state abortion law since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

At the same time, the White House sharply criticized an earlier ruling in Texas blocking guidance issued by the Biden administration requiring doctors to offer care to pregnant people in emergencies, including abortions, even if it conflicts with state law. The guidance was released by the Department of Health and Human Services in July.

“Americans across the country and of all backgrounds agree that women should have the right to make their own personal health care decisions and to receive life-saving medical care, without interference from politicians, and the President will continue to take action to protect women’s access to lifesaving health care,” Jean-Pierre said Thursday.  

Jean-Pierre did not specify what further actions President Biden could take.  

Biden has signed two executive orders on abortion rights since the ruling overturning Roe v. Wade that aim to protect access to abortion pills and emergency care for pregnant people and support people who travel out-of-state to seek abortions.  

Still, the president has been under pressure to take more aggressive action. Thus far the White House has resisted calls to declare abortion access a public health emergency but has not ruled out that or other actions.

Tags Abortion Biden Idaho Karine Jean-Pierre Roe v. Wade Texas White House

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